Photo provided by Harrington family
Gary Harrington, raised on a farm near Phelps Mill during the 1950s and 1960s, is pictured with his 4-H hogs. He won Jr. Grand Championship with his Duroc hog and raised the second hog for his family to butcher..

By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

A new book recently off the press about farms in Otter Tail County, and city life, will benefit the county museum (Otter Tail County Historical Society) with all book proceeds going to the county museum.

The title of the book is “Farmsteads and Old Neighborhoods.”

Photo by Tom Hintgen
Copy of the new book, “Farmsteads and Old Neighborhoods.”

Those who grew up on farms in Otter Tail County during the 1950s and 1960s fondly remember working alongside family members while milking cows, planting the crops in the spring, harvesting in the fall, baling hay and doing other chores. They raised chickens and managed horses.

Others who grew in city neighborhoods recall the days when they would collect empty pop bottles to take to corner grocery stores to cash in for a few cents in order to purchase penny candy.

Those people, now baby boomers with many of them retired, recall the values learned while growing up on farms and in city neighborhoods. They emphasize they always have maintained some affection for the farm and growing up in a small town.

Country schools are remembered by those who are part of the new book as are the many grade schools that kids attended in the 1950s and 1960s.

At one time, Otter Tail County’s 289 rural schools were the most of any county in Minnesota.

Many kids who were raised on farms formed their basis for life while attending one-room schools. City kids look back on the days when they learned the basics with reading, writing and arithmetic (the three Rs) at neighborhood elementary schools. 

“This was a time when all generations could sit together and actually communicate with each other,” says John Runningen, a resident of Atlanta, Georgia, who grew up in Otter Tail County. “As kids we would learn the stories of our grandparents. We developed shared values and hopes for the future.”

“Farmsteads and Old Neighborhoods” is now for sale for $15 at the OTCHS (Otter Tail County Historical Society-county museum) and Lundeens in Fergus Falls. As mentioned, all proceeds go to the county museum. To order online, here’s the information:

OTCHS: (or call 218-736-6038)

Ludeens: (or call 218-736-5433 / Toll Free (800-346-4870)